Saturday, 22 February 2014

My Day at the Bridge

Well, where to start?

How about the plastic nature of the club? As if listening to irritating Chelsea fans discussing football on the tube on the way to the game wasn’t bad enough (I nearly intervened) I walked around part of the ground where I had to pass a picture of a piece of Chelsea’s history every 2 yards. So, basically pictures of them winning trophies, post-2005. This was around bizarrely castle-like surroundings, those of you’ve been in the away end at Chelsea will know what I mean.

Then when we got into the ground some hyped up, weird bald guy is stood on the pitch with a microphone cheerleading the crowd. “Let’s hear it from the Shed End” etc. etc. I don’t think he realised he had a microphone either, shouting like he didn’t indeed have one. He’s then reading out the names: “John Teeeeeeeeryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” and “Fernando *holds mike up to the crowd*…”. Ugh, pratt.

Then there’s the cringeworthy banners: “John Terry, captain, leader, legend”. How about “John Terry, racist, cheater, ref intimidator” instead Chelsea fans? Others include “John Terry’s blue army”, “One love, one life, carefree since 1905”. What the heck is this carefree nonsense all about anyway?

And then finally there’s the half-time tribute to Alexei Smertin of all people, who basically was taken for a lap of honour by Mr. Match Announcer himself (as he holds the microphone up towards the largely unresponsive crowd).

But in all seriousness, I had a largely enjoyable day. The last minute Chelsea winner aside it was a good afternoon, the game was entertaining and tense. I didn’t think Everton deserved to lose, they restricted Chelsea to very few opportunities- Hazard was quiet in the second half and Oscar and Lampard were anonymous. But they kept possession well, harassed Chelsea well to win the ball back and created a fair amount of chances and chance opportunities.

In the first half Mirallas had a couple of good chances, Osman came close and Pienaar and Baines were causing havoc down the left-hand side. Jagielka had a good headed chance and there were a couple of chances in the box where a shot wasn’t taken. Whereas Chelsea only really had one chance.

In the second half they came close again 2 or 3 times until they faded a bit and started sitting too deep. It was odd for Martinez, particularly when you consider Chelsea weren’t actually looking that dangerous to start playing deeper in the last 15 minutes. It was Moyes-esque.

Everton should still take the positives from this, basically they came to Chelsea’s backyard and matched them at the very least, I’d argue they were the better side. Thy just lacked the finish up front, who knows what the score had been had Lukaku been playing. Counter-attacks started breaking down more in the second half but mainly when it went to Naismith- I thought it was odd Mirallas was taken off rather than him. He looked their biggest threat and had pace on the counter. Naismith slowed the attacks down and it halted Everton. However, overall they need to take the positives from this and move on. They showed again today what enormous potential they have.

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